Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The World of Work

Recently I have found myself visiting factories and offices which are not open to the general public. It’s a strange world wandering around with a visitors pass, signing in at receptions (that are all staffed by stepford wives look-alikes) and looking out for dykes and queers. Now that’s not part of the job I hasten to add but it’s something that I just seem to do. I have to say I am very impressed with the 3 locations I have been to so far. No not the talent on offer per se but in terms of the staff facilities available. Granted these are large companies I have been visiting with lots of staff and a very high public image. But the canteens, rest facilities, social and sports clubs etc are all an eye opener for me. And it seems that the companies value these locations highly in terms of keeping staff happy. Some of the places were unionised, one was definitely not but they all so far have been equally impressive and have staff involvement in the management of onsite facilities available.

The one thing that I suppose has surprised me is my own reaction to the visits. I have never worked in a factory or service industry setting. Until recently I don’t think I have ever been inside one of these ‘closed’ locations – unless you count the school tour.  And I don’t know if I could ever work in these places – it seems so claustrophobic. Small little ‘towns’ with their cliques, targets, production areas etc. And never really meeting new people either. Nowhere nearby to go for lunch so all you have is the staff canteen. Clocking in and out. That sort of thing.

Anyway it’s hard not to think sociologically when I am there, even though my visit is not for any of these reasons.


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